Abstract for: Do CAFE Standards Meaningfully Affect U.S. Vehicle Emissions?

As of 2015, the transportation sector was the second largest producer of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the United States, behind electricity production, with roughly 28% of U.S. emissions coming from transportation (Davis et al 2016). The integration of battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles have the potential to help decrease annual GHG emissions significantly. A systems dynamic model is used to model the U.S. light duty vehicle fleet, and consumer purchasing trends, to identify key levers for the reduction of GHG emissions. This model is broken down into three integrated parts: consumer choice, fleet characteristics and greenhouse gas emissions. Four plausible scenarios were tested to identify the most effective levers in reducing GHG emissions. The results suggest that current CAFE standards can have a substantial impact on the reduction of GHG emissions. These results may serve as a useful input to policy discussions regarding the rollback of CAFE standards.